July 22, 2010


America gives many ways to drown:
Unsupervised motel pools trap stray tots
Who can’t reverse their tiptoe down the slope;
Kids who can swim explore the same pool’s drain,
Get suctioned to it, have their guts ripped out;
Teens play in creeks in flood, or riptide beach;
A flooding river sweeps cars off the road;
New Orleans’ levees break and thousands die.
For all of these, poor government shares blame –
Loose laws, weak education, lack of funds,
All driven by those tax breaks for the rich.
(Oh - add rendition’s waterboarding deaths.)
But I drown in girls’ large-eyed innocence,
Pools of enchantment and primordial depth.

Published, Ambit No. 200, UK, April 2010

July 12, 2010


The Swastika, that ancient Vedic sign,
The lightning wheels with which the Aryan bands
In lightning war overrun other lands,
Wheeled juggernauts that crush, self-claimed divine.

Hammer and Sickle, commoners’ work-tools;
Weapons for rising up, and tearing down
The castle of the rich, the bourgeois town;
Fake honor to the poor the Party rules.

A flag with Stripes, memorial for flogged slaves,
Striped jail clothes for resulting underclass;
And Stars like bullets through the windshield’s glass
For leaders by the CIA shot down,
Star earned for each election overthrown,
Star for each land the flag invades, or ‘saves’.

Published: Ambit No. 196, UK, April 2009

July 2, 2010


Women I’ve failed or wronged or left behind
Approach my thoughts like zombies for the kill;
I’ve literary walled defences – still
Given the chance, they’ll eat my brains, my mind.

Through forest, orchard, farmyard in decay,
A shadow of a wolf slips greyly in,
My thoughts of death, grim, wasted, ill, rib-thin,
Tracking my weak resolve, hungry to slay.

Mountaintops blown apart, forests clear-cut,
Where’s there to hide? Nature doesn’t exist;
Her landscapes crushed in patriarchal fist.
This former farmland hides my ruined hut.

Impotent, I still write, thus giving birth
To future wolves and zombies of the earth.

Published: Candelabrum, UK, April 2009